Butterfly: Fastest yet most difficult swimming stroke
Swimmers are unanimous in saying that the difficulty in the butterfly style lies in the recovery phase, when all the necessary over-water mover heave to be done synchronously. This means that in that single motion, the swimmer has to take a quick breath while simultaneously lifting out of the water fully his head, arms, shoulders and part of his chest.
A flawed technique won’t be overcome by the swimmer’s purely physical strength. Also during the competition, the butterfly swimmer is not allowed to swim underwater, except for the first stroke after the start (in which the swimmer is allowed up to 15 meters of swimming underwater before his head breaks the surface) and after each turn.
Another distinguishing feature of the stroke is the kick that accompanies it the dolphin kick. Here legs also move in unison using an entirely different set of muscles: a forceful up and down kick brings the shoulders above the surface, while the reverse of this kick sequence brings the shoulders back below the surface.
Although the butterfly swimming stroke is known to have been used in a competition for the first time in 1933 the dolphin kick was only developed two years later. The combined windmill like the movement of the arms and the fishtail like kicks are the keys to the development of this very fast albeit quite difficult swimming style.